(Note: This is a guest post by Andrea Taylor from LifeCoachHub.com.)
No matter where you are in life, complacency is your enemy.
You diminish your happiness by staying inside of your comfort zone and refusing to experience life fully.
Fortunately, you can change how you view and interact with the world starting today.
Your comfort zone is an important aspect of your mental state.
Rather than cause anxiety and stress related to the unknown, those things that fit within your area of comfort are predictable and routine.
To enjoy life completely, you need to challenge yourself and step outside of the mundane routines you currently rely on.
While it will increase your stress levels, if you aim for activities that are appropriate, you will enter a state of optimal anxiety.
Think of a dart board: the bulls eye is your comfort zone.
Each spoke leading from it is a different aspect of your life, such as your career, family relationships, emotions and so forth. When you are attempting to go out of your comfort zone, you need to spread your efforts among each of these categories.
You need not aim completely off the board in order to get away from the bulls eye zone. In fact, your choices should never be reckless or dangerous. Make small steps out, and you will grow your level of comfort in a wide variety of situations. Your ability to face the unexpected will benefit you in multiple ways, adding to the benefits of your efforts.
As I just mentioned, moving way from your comfort zone will actually expand it.
You will soon start feeling comfortable in plenty of life situations instead of wanting things to be just the way you want them to be. This is wonderful because life is uncertain and handling uncertainty easily will make make you stronger.
Another perk associated with trying new things regularly is that you will increase your productivity.
As you gain confidence and grow your decision-making abilities, you will find it easier to improve your work performance. You won't postpone a decision just because it is uncomfortable.
Your creative side will grow, which will give you the ability to brainstorm better in your personal and professional life. Consistently expanding your knowledge and horizons will keep your brain active and healthy, which will pay off as you continue to age.
The activities that will challenge your comfort zone depend on your current habits and the areas where you are most likely to feel apathetic.
However, this does not mean you must stop there. Taking on small trials in each aspect of your being will provide the greatest benefit. Additionally, you can stretch to some larger ones as you see fit.
You have a wide range of options available to you that will help you to shake things up.
One idea that virtually anyone can try is to change your musical listening habits. Rather than depending on your playlists or favorite radio station for entertainment, open your ears and mind to an unusual new genre.
Is there a particular country or culture of interest to you? If so, you can push your comfort level by diving into it. Listen to the popular music,and see if a dance class focusing on the culture is available in your community.
To further immerse yourself, study the history of food in the country, and learn to prepare several dishes that you find flavorful. Take some language courses, study the geography and then plan a vacation and immerse yourself in the land for a couple of weeks.
Of course, that progression would occur over years of time. Begin with small things, such as simply listening to the modern tunes on the airwaves in other parts of the world. Do not push yourself too far. Stay within your optimal anxiety range.
Find out what sort of community education courses are offered nearby, and attend one. While you are challenging and expanding your comfort zone, you get the benefit of acquiring new knowledge and meeting others with at least one common interest.
The pride in mastering the course materials and making new acquaintances will contribute to your happiness and life satisfaction levels. Whether you are taking a new route to work or intentionally smiling and making a kind remark to people you encounter throughout your day, your actions will have a remarkable impact on your mental and emotional health.
Your cognitive functioning and brain health will really improve as you reap the benefits of your perseverance.
Taking incremental steps outside of your comfort zone will provide these rewards and more.
Enjoy the additional happiness and satisfaction: you deserve it!